Ideally, we would have access to a set of constant grade hills, such as those built at an automotive proving grounds. Lacking a set of these, the hill climb performance is measured on a particularly long uphill road, Ice Pond Road. Starting near Route 312 in Brewster, NY, Ice Pond Road then climbs 325 feet in exactly one mile. The grade averages 6% but portions are as steep as 25%. This is a segment on Strava as well, simply search for “Ice Pond Rd” in Brewster, NY.
After confirming that the battery is fully charged and the voltage recorded, the ebike is started from a marked spot near Route 312. For the throttle only climb, no pedaling is performed. The time to reach the top of hill is recorded or, if it can’t reach the top of the hill, the total distance traveled is noted. If the ebike does not have a throttle, this first test is performed with no pedaling effort applied, simply spinning along to activate the cadence sensor. For bikes with torque and cadence, this test is usually skipped. The hill climb is then repeated with pedaling an average of 100 watts at 80 rpm (or lower if gearing requires it). The actual pedal power will be reported for each result.
These tests serve as a good measure how well each ebike climbs. Some ebikes are simply better climbers due to their motor type and maximum power output.
Here’s the list of bikes that have reached the top of the hill and their time:
- Faraday Cortland (131 lb rider): 4:48 to top, avg pedal power of 99 watts
- Faraday Cortland (200 lb rider): 8:18 to top, avg pedal power of 104 watts
- Magnum Metro+ (200 lb rider): 4:50 to top, avg pedal power of 99 watts
- Magnum Metro+ (200 lb rider): Climbed 0.71 miles on throttle only
Of interest to me is the dramatic difference with the two different riders (my daughter vs. me) on the Cortland. She flew up the hill on the Cortland while it really struggled with me. 70 pounds makes a huge difference!